Thursday, 30 April 2015

April in Review...


It was not a productive month for sewing. I only managed to complete two projects. 

This month I've lost my sewing mojo and am desperately trying to find it again. In the mean-time, I've been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A few people in the blogging community have recommended this read. It is an interesting read. And so I've been busy this month putting some of Marie Kondo's techniques into practice and asking, "does this spark joy?"  In doing so, I hope to re-discover my sewing mojo which I suspect is buried under a pile of fabric.  

RTW Fast

I bought some knickers, since the fair trade fabric that I was so proud of purchasing hasn't held up all that well. Besides undergarments are on the allowed item list so I'm going to forgive myself on this one until I find my sewing mojo and get my hands of the new McCall's 7168 pattern. I think those swimsuit bottoms would make some retro fun knickers. 


Sewing Supplies
Used from Stash
Additions to the stash
Basting Tape
2.08 metres

Bias Tape



1.3 metres

22.05 metres
46.9 metres
0.35 metres

Lace Trim
1.2 metres
6 metres


Hooks and Eyes

2 previously used
8 new
1.2 metres
7 metres
Serger Thread

Sewing Machine Needle


Spools of Thread

1 - 22” invisible
1 - 12" invisible
1 - 8”  invisible
1 - 7" invisible
1 - 18" zipper
1 - 8" invisible
Pants / Shorts

Happy Sewing!  

Friday, 24 April 2015

Fashion Revolution Day

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. Last year, on the one year anniversary of a horrible tragedy, there was a global campaign to get people to wear their clothing inside out in order to expose their clothing labels and ask the question, "who made my clothes?" and the campaign returns again.

The campaign asks that we become curious about how our clothes are made and who makes them. You can do it by wearing your clothes inside out, starting the dialogue and becoming more mindful of unfair and unsafe working conditions that have been in the media since the collapse at Rana Plaza.

Do something! In recent years there has been many books, documentaries and articles on the shift within the fashion landscape. Ignorance is not bliss and knowledge can change the world. ReThink recently did a brilliant ad campaign for the Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN) you can check it out here.  


The label doesn't tell the whole story indeed. It is not just clothing labels. I've noticed that labelling at the fabric store doesn't tell much of a story either. Nothing irks me more than searching for the label that is stamped "Unknown Fibre Content" or not finding a label at all. As a consumer, I want to be informed. I think that is what today is about, being informed and making changes in our lives so that we can help make positive changes in other people's lives.

I still have a lot to learn. This campaign and several books I have recently read have forced me to re-examine the world around me.

Collecting clothing labels has been a real eye opening experience. I have been collecting these in hopes to make a conversation piece for today but it didn't materialize in time. But I digress... Clothes from by-gone years were made of higher quality materials in countries where there are labour laws. Some of the vintage clothing items even have "union made" labels, something that is not easily found in today's labels.

I won't be wearing my clothes inside out because I know who made the clothing I'm wearing to work today--I did. And I'm going to work where we have a dress code.

But my thoughts are with the people who have lost their lives and who continue to work in horrid conditions in the name of fast-fashion and fast-profits. With awareness comes change. Spread the word.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

New McCall's Patterns

McCall's released their summer line last night. Have you checked them out?

McCall's 7154 and McCall's 7153 from their Archive Collection would be a perfect creations for a Great Gasby party!  

I'm quite smitten over the Hollywood glamour of this dress.  

Out here in the prairies there is rarely an occasion for such a beautiful dress unless perhaps someone would made it up as a wedding dress. It would make a gorgeous wedding dress as well.  

I really like how McCall's created this dress with the directional stripes. Now this dress I could see myself wearing except I don't need another dress pattern.

To be completely honest if there is one pattern that I would pick up from this release it would be the swimsuit pattern despite the fact that I don't swim.  

It is the bottoms of McCall's 7168 that I have my eyes on. I wouldn't mind trying to make those bottoms into a pair of knickers with lace on the side front panels.  

How about you?  Were there any McCall's summer patterns that caught your eye?  

Happy Sewing!  

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Gym Gear

Stash busting 2015:  Shorts

Fabric:    1 metre @ $9.04 ($16.00/metre - 50% + taxes)

Ribbon:   1.2 metres @ $1.08 ($1.60/metre - 50% + taxes)

Elastic:    1 metre, gift from Mama R's stash

Pattern:    McCall's 4312 (to be completely honest I can't recall how much I paid for this pattern)

This pattern has been in my stash for twelve years, uncut and neglected. I've been searching for a pattern that I could use for making gym gear but how I missed this one for this long is beyond me. Thankfully, this uncut pattern is a multi-sized pattern and included my current size. Out-of-print McCall's 4312 is from the Sewing with Nancy line by Nancy Zieman, circa 2003.  

Let's talk about the instructions for a minute. Oh-my-goodness! What a treasure throve of information. I really like the inserted boxes of sewing tips scattered throughout the instructions. I wish all patterns were made like this one. That said, this would be a great pattern for a beginner or someone like me who lost their sewing mojo. This project certainly lifted my spirits in the sewing room.  

Even though I am singing the praises of this pattern, I did change the waistband design. 

I not all that smitten about the below belly-button look with the ribbed waistband and was looking more for work-out wear instead of leisurewear. Comparing this pattern to the pants pattern in Butterick 6185, I decided to raise the waistline four and three-quarter inches. I cut these in a size L at the side seams and leg length and a medium in the crotch length. After I took in a bit at the centre back seam near the waistline, I like how the new waist fits. I think next time I'll add a couple of inches to the leg length for a longer pair of shorts that will hit the scars on my knees.   

For the waistband, I stitched a length of elastic to the wrong side and then turned it over to stitch in place. But first I added two small buttonholes just off the centre front seam.  

The twill tape has tape measure design on it representing the inches that I hope to drop with these shorts. I will admit that I didn't finish the hem except for serging and leaving it. 

The fabric has been in my stash since last year when I stumbled across it in the discounted section. It is a 20% polyester and 80% cotton blend that shrunk a crazy amount when I pre-washed it, both in the width and length. I thought there might be enough for pants and a jacket when I first picked up this fabric but now I'm not so sure. Another pair of shorts for sure!

How does it compare?

RTW Ladies gym shorts.

Retail price:  $44.95 (AU) on sale for $34.95

My version:  $10.12

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Who Stole My Mojo?

Boy, has my sewing mojo ever taken a hit or what! There is sew much on my plate but lately I just don't have the energy to get to it.  

Mind you it didn't help that I went to the gym and worked out with the Bosu ball and could barely lift my arms to hold onto the steering wheel of the car while driving, never mind operate a sewing machine. Yup, I'm that out of shape.  

And today, I came home with runny eyes and the sniffles--it's allergy season. Yup, my sewing mojo is taking quite the beating this month.  

I didn't even get around to cutting out the wrap dress for the MVB sew-along. Nor have I finished the spring coat. Or the chemo caps. And I had grand plans to make a clothing label necklace inspired by Gayle Ortiz's version for Fashion Revolution Day have stalled.  

I'm just a hot mess with no sewing mojo.  

But I'm optimistic that my sewing mojo might return since I did pick up a couple of patterns at the MVB pattern sale. I know they will take several weeks to get here and hopefully my sewing mojo will be found by then.  

How about you, how's your sewing mojo?  

Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

New Vogue Patterns: Summer 2015

Okay, it is way past my bedtime and I wasn't going to write a post this late. But have you seen the new Vogue patterns for Summer 2015?  

My favourite pattern from the collection has me wishing that I had a little girl to sew for, Vogue 1455.  

Seriously, how adorable is this dress? Does it look familiar? 

It totally reminds me of another Lynn Mizono dress, Vogue 1410 but this mini version is reversible! Isn't it adorable?  

I really like the asymmetrical closing on this dress, Vogue 9105. It won't likely make it to my pattern collection since it doesn't fit my lifestyle, but I do like the vintage design. Besides, I think this dress has Laura Mae's name written all over it.

Now this, Vogue 9107 is more my style. Except, I would have to lengthen below knee length.  

Of course, there is another Marcy Tilton design that I found oh-sew-fun! Vogue 9108.  

And this skirt pattern, Vogue 9114, is by a new-to-me designer, Kathryn Brenne. I don't think I will add this pattern to my collection since I don't need anymore skirts but this just might be a designer I will want to watch.  

How about you, any summer Vogue patterns that made it onto your wish list?  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 6 April 2015

In Sewing News Today...

Spring break is over and tomorrow it is back to work. I can't believe that I had all these grand plans and I have nothing to show. Except for a wrist brace and frumpy top. Oh well, it was nice to have to the time to recover.

On the up side I found this in my pattern stash.

I'll admit it, I need to lose weight. I want to lose weight. I am ready to lose weight, mentally. Wardrobe wise, not so much. I need exercise gear that fits. I've been searching for a pattern for exercise appropriate clothing for awhile. And all this time there was a pattern that has been sitting in my stash that will work out perfectly. Right under my nose! I'm not quite sure how I missed it during my search.  

This pattern dates back to 2003, when I was a much slimmer lass. Thankfully, I didn't cut into this multi-all-sizes-included pattern back-in-the-day. I desperately need exercise pants and this pattern, with a little tweaking to the shape of the waistband, will work out just fine.

I have an aqua green sweatshirt weight fabric in my stash the washing machine that will also work out just fine for this project. I picked it up at Fabricland last year and the tag stated that it was a Roots jogging fleece. I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical to see Roots listed on the label. To be completely honest I picked up the fabric because I liked it rather than the label. I just thought it was interesting to find a Roots fabric at the store. I never seen that before or since. If it really is or not, I do like the fabric and fingers crossed I sew a pair of workout pants that I like as much as the fabric. I hope to get to this project next weekend.

Well, that is all in sewing news today...

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Loose (very loose) Fitting Top

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 6175

Fabric:                  1.10 metre of 100% cotton $15.66 ($18.00/metre - 30% off + taxes)

Lace:                     1.20 metres of 100% cotton lace trim $3.80 ($3.50 - 20% off + taxes)

Zipper:                  12" invisible, recycled

Basting Tape:      Birthday gift

Pattern:                 Butterick 6175 @ $13.53 ($19.95 - 40% off + taxes)

Sewn On:              Janome 4120QDC using a regular presser foot for regular stitches, invisible and regular zipper feet for zipper installation.

Seam Finish:        Serged on a Janome My Lock serger.

I'll be completely honest, I never imaged that I would add this pattern to my collection. I picked this one up after becoming tempted by all those RTW lace trimmed tops popping up in the stores this spring.
{RTW version of hemline lace trimmed top: Source}
I like the easy fit and retro feel of the top. I knew I could come up with my own version and that is when Butterick 6175 became a consideration.   

I knew that I wanted a top with sleeves and Butterick 6175 has sleeves that sit just above the elbow, a longer length than most of the sleeves found on the RTW tops. I chose the bell shaped sleeve (View B) which looks better on the pattern illustration than it does on me. A sleeve style that I've been noticing on the RTW landscape--wish I tried it on before picking this style for the top. I wasn't crazy about the back neckline slit and button and loop finish so I changed that to a invisible zipper. I think next time (if I make another one) I will lower the front neckline and change it to a pullover top like Ann did over at Sew Baby News. I think her version looks great and there is no fuss with closures. I should note that I can pull this top on and off without even touching the zipper but I do think Ann's lowered neckline looks better.   

And this is what I came out with, an old lady top. And not in the good, funky, or stylish way. Yeah, I know that some people consider me an old lady (family can be so brutal). But I was hoping for something more easy, comfortable and fun. This just reminds me of something frumpy. Should always trust ones instincts about a pattern.
I didn't follow the pattern instructions all that closely as it is a pretty easy pattern to figure out even without the instructions. I changed the order of things starting with zipper installation. I also sewed one side seam, finished the hemline, sewed the lace trim before I sewed the other side seam close. I saved the sleeves for the last step.

The fit is not perfect (frumpy). I found the shoulders to be a wee bit wide (frumpy). I did cut a size 14 in the shoulder and neckline areas.  According to the envelope, my bust measurements put me at a size 16 but I should have stayed with a size 14 cut in the bust area. Even the (frumpy) bust dart points sits off to the side. It doesn't look like it from the illustrations and photograph on the pattern envelope but there is a generous amount of ease (frumpy-ness) in this pattern.

Despite my complaints about the less-than-ideal (frumpy) fit, I do have a frumpy and wearable top that will work with my work wardrobe.  And I need tops for work even if they are frumpy. Besides, I work in a school were I have destroyed many pieces of clothing with ink and paint stains and tears from brushing too close to lockers. I'm sure that will happen to this one too. The total cost of basic materials to make this top came to roughly $42.99, compared to $89.27 for the sleeveless RTW version.  

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I'm back sewing thanks to the world's best chiropractor who worked on my hand this week. It still swelled up yesterday but to look at my hand right now you wouldn't have guessed that it was in a brace last night. There is no stopping me now!  

Mind you, I am in the midst of a good book.  

The book might slow down my sewing productivity.

I did manage to fix one of my March projects. Remember the skirt, Burda 6766? Well, I sat down opened the centre back seam, removed the zipper, removed the 5/8" seam allowances from the centre back pieces and then re-installed the invisible zipper. Which I promptly had to remove because the zipper broke when zipping it up! I think I was so overjoyed about being able to do some sewing that I didn't mind at all. And thankfully, there was another suitable invisible zipper in my stash.  

It now fits even though the side seams are more towards the back than the side. The up side is that the darts now sit in a better position.  And did I mention that it fits--the waistband actually sits at my waist!  

Well, that is all in sewing news today... 

Happy Sewing!  

In Sewing New Today...

A few months ago the strap on my handbag broke. The leather strap was fine, it was the hardware that gave out. The strapless handbag sat un...